Happy Sunday, y’all!
Today I decided to do a quick fun post for you guys. Here is a list of my top 4 favorite brother-sister relationships in fiction.
Brothers and sisters are some of the most profound and beautiful relationships to read and write about. As y’all know, I am the sister to a wonderful older brother (who is graduating high school in exactly one week!). So these relationships connect with me on a deep and personal level. When, of course, writers craft relationships that are real, raw, and honest.
So, enjoy this little list of mine! It’s in no particular order.
1. Monseigneur Bienvenu and Mademoiselle Baptistine – Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Here is a small collage I created for this beautiful brother-sister pair.
I just love these two. Their relationship is so tender and sweet and loving and just… ugh. If you’re a sister, be Mademoiselle Baptistine to your brother. I’ve made that pledge. And if you’re a brother, be Monseigneur Bienvenu to your sister.
There’s something so special about a big brother and little sister who take care of each other and love each other through the good and the bad, to the very end.
Monseigneur Bienvenu, the Bishop of Digne, is certainly a man who practices what he preaches. Kind and benevolent, M. Myriel (whose nickname Bienvenu means “welcome”), preaches love. So of course he shows that to his sister as much as to anyone else. Baptistine lives with Myriel under his tender care. She both adores and venerates him as her brother and her bishop. Myriel is willing to do anything for the word of God, and so he puts himself in very dangerous and life-threatening situations. Because she loves him, Baptistine worries, but she doesn’t prevent her brother from doing his duty; she prays for him and she trusts that he knows what he’s doing!
“I know very well that if any harm came to him, it would be my death” (Hugo 33). That’s a Baptistine quote.
First Myriel takes care of Baptistine. Then as Myriel grows older, his body grows increasingly weaker. That’s when it’s role reversal – Baptistine takes care of Myriel. She tenderly nurses her ill brother. In the years leading up to his death, Myriel goes completely blind, but he “was content because his sister was with him” (Hugo 165).
In one of the most beautiful passages in Les Misérables, Hugo describes Myriel’s final years with Baptistine as his nurse. Myriel feels comfortable with her care because he knows she loves him. He needs her and she cannot live without him. He feels her love even though he can no longer see her face. Even as he is sick, she makes him feel strong. “A hand sustains you, it is hers; lips lightly touch your forehead, they are her lips; you hear breathing near you, it is she. To have her wholly, from her devotion to her pity, never to be left alone, to have that sweet shyness as your aid” (Hugo 166).
Oh my goodness. These sentences are reason enough for you to read Les Mis. Sadly I can’t include the entire passage because it’s very long, but… you guys. I was literally melting as I read. Such a beautiful description that you can’t help but let your eyes well up.
That’s the ultimate example of awesome elderly siblings.
2. Jem and Scout Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Jem and Scout are amazing! They’re hilarious together, and their portrayal is so realistic. Jem is the bossy big brother who glories in annoying his sister, and while Scout is annoyed, she worships her brother and tags around him. It’s obvious that these two love each other very much, even though – like typical brothers and sisters – they don’t always express it so well. Jem is extremely protective, and Scout is extremely adoring.
Jem and Scout play together, stir up trouble together, get into mishaps and shenanigans together, give their father grief together… you name it. They grieve together and they comfort one another, too. At the end of the day, this pair is there for each other. And I’m totally here for that!
3. Walter and Rilla Blythe – Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
I apologize that the picture is so low-quality. Sadly, there aren’t any great pictures of RoI – it seems to be one of the least popular books in the Anne of Green Gables series although it’s my personal favorite. And there are no pictures of Walter and Rilla at all. I’m pretty salty that they didn’t make a movie out of RoI.
One of the biggest reasons I adore RoI the most out of all the books in this series is – you guessed it – Walter and Rilla’s relationship. Like the two previous relationships discussed, this is one between an older brother and younger sister.
Rilla worships Walter. He treats her with gentleness and respect, even to the point that he never teases her or nicknames her as her other brothers do. While Rilla loves her other brothers, her heart belongs to Walter in a very special way.
Some of the most touching scenes in this emotional novel were the Walter and Rilla scenes. Walter hates himself for much of the first part of the novel, because he believes he is too much of a coward to enlist in World War I. He can confide only in Rilla, who tenderly comforts him. But his guilt becomes too great anyway, and he enlists, breaking Rilla’s heart.
*spoiler alert* RoI was actually the first novel that made me cry because of Walter’s death in the Battle of Courcelette and the heartrending letter he wrote to Rilla the night before.
These two are each other’s strength. They are each other’s rocks. They are each other’s foundations. Best of all, they give each other the kind of love that no one else can.
4. Paul and Temira – The Apostle’s Sister by Yours Truly
Yes, I included characters from my own novel in this list. *sheepish laughter* That’s totally and completely okay. A writer’s gotta be excited about her work!
Ah, these two. I adore them, obviously! You guys know a lot about Paul and Temira, and I hope you love their relationship as much as I do. It’s such a fun and beautiful experience to write about!
As I’ve said before, the main purpose of TAS is to focus on the truth that St. Paul would have loved his sister very much, being the man that he was. His love for Temira is enduring, strong, long-suffering, and just plain emotional, which is why I love these siblings so much. Again, as y’all know, they are also older brother and little sister.
Temira’s sister-heart is the biggest, brightest, tenderest, and kindest. Paul is her very life. Her love for him is so raw, which makes it still more beautiful. These siblings have to suffer immeasurable trials in their relationship. Because Temira loves Paul so much, it’s very hard for her to come to terms with his life as an apostle, even after he converts her to Christianity. I mean, what sister would want to watch her brother go through the things Temira has to watch Paul go through? None.
As his comforter and confidante, Temira has to face the trauma and pain of Paul’s past, present, and future. Since she is his only sister, she is the only one who knows him in this kind of special and intimate way. A brother-sister relationship has a kind of vulnerability that can’t be found in any other relationship.
As for Paul, he loves Temira deeply. He is her protector and her guide. There is nothing he wouldn’t do for her. At the very beginning of the novel, he is making huge emotional and physical sacrifices for her. He is the one who brings her to Christ. And that’s what makes their bond so solid. TAS is filled with emotional moments between these two, starting with a reconciliation.
Hope you guys enjoyed!
What did y’all think of my list? Which is your favorite relationship among the four I listed, and what do you like best about each one? Do you have any favorite fictional brothers and sisters that I didn’t mention? Tell me all your thoughts!
You know the drill – eat, pray, write, repeat!